A “Unite The Right” rally organized by white nationalist Richard Spencer descended into chaos and violence Saturday in Charlottesville, as thousands of “alt right” activists, Nazis, KKK members, other assorted white supremacists, and armed militia groups fought with anti-fascist groups and other counter-protesters.
Two fences and a line of cops helped to separate the supremacists and counter-protestors. The alt-right side, with their plethora of Confederate flags and Nazi memorabilia on full display, began chanting: “Fuck you faggots.” [The counter-marchers had equally provocative displays]
The opposing fringe groups sprayed mace into the air, tossed canisters of what appeared to be — and felt like — tear gas, and beat each other with flagpoles and bats in Emancipation Park, formerly called Lee Park. The violence raged for hours. The Charlottesville Police Department declared a local state of emergency. Then, around noon, as riot cops finally intervened and expelled protesters from the park, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) formally declared a state of emergency.
Unidentified militia members brandishing guns also showed up at the scene. As more fights began breaking out, police could be seen putting on riot gear.
Shortly before 2 p.m., a car plowed into a crowd of people near the city’s Downtown Mall, injuring multiple people before the vehicle stopped. An emergency alert said many of the injured had broken legs, local newspaper The Daily Progress reported. “ [Details have not been released at this time]